UAE riders in action during the Endurance Cup Image Credit: Dubai Equestrian Club

Dubai: The four-day HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival, the top highlight of the UAE Endurance Calendar, will be held between Tuesday and Friday. Topping the programme is the HH Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup, which draws participation from top local and international endurance riders. Together the festival is a celebration of the sport’s most eminent supporter, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The main race, the HH Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup is held over 160km and will be held at the Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC). The event is an annual tribute to the extraordinary impact Sheikh Mohammed has had on the sport of endurance riding and global equestrian sport.

Presented by Longines, Pillar Partners Azizi Developments are joined by Al Tayer Motors as they extend their support of the HH Endurance Cup Festival. The programme opens with the 120km HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Ride for Ladies (March 23), followed by the 120km HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Ride restricted to private stables (March 24). A day later, the Al Tayer Motors-sponsored 120km Gamilati Cup for mares (March 25) added diversity to the competition. Finally, the showpiece 160km HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup is scheduled for March 26.

A world standard international venue for endurance riding, the purpose-built Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) will host the four-day event, supported by an international team of veterinary officials.

Mr Mirwais Azizi, Founder and Chairman of Azizi Developments, said: “This event excites all of us at Azizi Developments every year. Especially in times like these, an event where communities can come together, with proper health precautions being taken and adhered to, to rejoice in hope and passion for a sport that is deeply rooted in the UAE’s heritage, is truly a touching experience for all who value not only equestrianism, but also the feeling of togetherness. We are absolutely delighted to sponsor this meet for the fourth year running, one that truly raises the bar for excellence every year, and we will continue to support high-profile events that put this great emirate — a global leader in both business and tourism — on the world stage.”

“The 2021 staging marks our 10th association with this prestigious event. As one of the UAE’s leading automobile dealerships we are pleased to continue our support to this unique race, being held as part of the Dubai Endurance Festival,” said Ashok Khanna, Chief Executive Officer, Al Tayer Motors.

Major General Dr Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi the President of UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation added: “The prestigious Endurance Festival named for H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum — Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai- is one of the most important equestrian events in the UAE, as it bears the name “Knight of Arabs”.

“The festival is widely acclaimed both in the UAE and worldwide, and is considered an important platform upon which national and international riders compete.”

Mohammad Essa Al Adhab, General Manager of Dubai Equestrian Club, underlined the club’s efforts to ensure the competition was being held keeping the safety of the participants and officials in mind: “The HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Festival is a four-day festival that celebrates the great commitment and support our sport has received from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“The HH Sheikh Mohammed Cup title is one of the most prestigious in endurance riding, and every year we see a hard-fought battle among the very best horse-rider partnerships from across the globe. This year we are being extra-stringent about following all government directives and health regulations, while enforcing social distancing norms to ensure the safety of all those participating in the event.”